Members of our Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays group knew at some point this winter/spring our "we walk rain or shine (but not in thunder and lightning)" mantra would be tested. There has been so much rain, but we had never gotten wet on our always good weather Wednesday mornings. However, the Accuweather forecast said there was going to be rain last Wednesday morning, but just scattered showers. My message to the group was bring an umbrella, and you will be fine.
However, that assurance seemed suspect Wednesday morning. There had been some fairly heavy early morning rains, but 21 faithful walkers and two K-9 best friends were at the Exedra as their normal 10:30 AM gathering time approached.
At 10:26 there was a break and some sunshine welcomed us, but it didn't last long and there was uncertainty and lots of clouds in the air. It didn't matter. We felt they could handle what the weather gods had in store for us.
The weather may have felt like winter, but it was spring and there were flowers all around Piedmont to prove it. Different varieties come at different times. Daffodils and tulip tree magnolias are among the first to bloom, and they have been staying around because of the cool temperatures, but this week real tulips were making their appearance in Piedmont gardens and parks, and we wanted to go see them.
The first tulips were right behind us in the large planter in front of the Exedra vase. They were not yet blooming because they don't get much sun, so we headed up Highland Avenue in search of more on the streets around Crocker Park. We went over Sheridan Avenue to Wildwood Avenue and up to Crocker Avenue. We wanted to check on a house's garage construction project that we
have been monitoring on our walks. The garage has taken shape, and will be beautiful, but the rains have delayed work, and it won't be completed by the expected March date.
We continued up Crocker to Lafayette Avenue and down it to where Woodland Way merges into it, and the roadway magically becomes La Salle Avenue. We continued on it to our first tulip destination. This house on the left side of the street has a beautifully landscaped upward slopping terrace covered with tulips. The flowers had taken some hits from the heavy rain the day before, but they were still lovely. Two gardeners had arrived and were getting ready to maintain the yard's beauty, but they happily answered some of our questions.
A light shower reminded us it was time to continue on and see more tulips. We crossed Crocker, went up to Sea View Avenue, turned left, and started up it. On the left side of the street was a classic Piedmont Mediterranean home with many tulips bordering the grass lawn. Then, up the street we went, passing two Julia Morgan-designed homes we had seen and appreciated on past
We came to another home and front yard we have also previously enjoyed. Its flowers are always lovely, but not more wonderful than they were this morning. This yard has beautiful landscaped terraces, and they are now blanketed with yellow, purple, white, and other colored tulips. Swee Ling Chen said she had once talked to the house's gardener and learned the bulbs are imported from Holland. They were a Dutch treat for us, and a group photo was taken in front of them.
A lot of more time could have been spent admiring these tulips, but another light shower made us realize we shouldn't press our luck. Heading back to the Exedra was the prudent thing to do if we wanted to stay mostly dry. So, it was on to Hampton Road, Crocker again, the Hall Fenway, Wildwood and Sheridan Avenues. At Sheridan and Caperton Avenue Vincent Fisher noticed a
patch of tulips in the small city park that we had missed on the way up the street. Finally, at Sheridan and Highland, we spotted a number of extra-large, plastic Easter eggs also reminding us what time of year it is.
As we walked the final blocks back to the Community Hall parking lot just before noon, a little more rain came down. Soon there would be a lot more. But it didn't matter, we had made it back almost completely dry. Our lucky string of wonderful weather Wednesday morning walks had continued. We were in our cars, dry, and on our ways home.